An Intimate History Of Killing | Granta

  • Published: 06/03/2000
  • ISBN: 9781862073210
  • 128x20mm
  • 576 pages

An Intimate History Of Killing

Joanna Bourke

It is almost universally accepted among writers on warfare that battle is a terrible experience, and that those who fight are at the very least sobered, and often deeply traumatised, by the horrors of combat. Bourke uses the letters, diaries, memoirs and reports of veterans from three conflicts – the First World War, the Second World War and the Vietnam War – to establish a picture of the man-at-arms. She suggests that the structure of war encourages pleasure in killing, and that perfectly ordinary, gentle human beings can become enthusiastic killers without becoming ‘brutalised’. Bourke forces the reader to face some disconcerting truths about societies that can so easily organize themselves for war.

The Author

Joanna Bourke is a Professor of History at Birkbeck College, London. Her books include Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain and the Great War and Rape: Sex, Violence, History. An Intimate History of Killing: Face-to-Face Killing in Twentieth-Century Warfare was awarded the 1998 Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History and the Wolfson History Prize. She lives in London.

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